Downcycling involves processing used materials into new products, or the re-use of a product with crippled functionality for alternative purposes, to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production. A clear example is plastic recycling, which turns the material into lower grade plastics. The terms downcycle and downcycling were used by Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH and Thornton Kay of Salvo Llp in 1993, along with the terms upcycle and upcycling.
The term downcycling was also used by William McDonough and Michael Braungart in their 2002 book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

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[edit]Examples of downcycling

  • increasing the recycle number of plastic recyclables (see above)
  • transferring disposable batteries to lower-power devices (e.g. taking batteries from a digital camera to a TV remote)
  • Re-using defective car batteries for lower-power applications.
  • Re-Using rag towels for other cleaning environments.
  • often times, when people upcycle, individually downcycled parts are often involved.
  • finding alternate purposes for obsolete technology. Such as using an older computer to play music while a newer computer is available for everyday purposes. Older MP3 players can play a similar role.

[edit]See also